Super-light concrete with pearl-chains

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    The paper presents a new technology invented by the author by means of which it is possible to create very light concrete structures. The new super-light structures are resource-saving in terms of consumption of raw materials and energy for production and transport, and the cost is often less than half that of similar structures in concrete and steel. They are heat-insulating, fire-resistant and they open up the possibility for large spans and the creation of advanced shapes. Fields of application include roofs, shells, beams, columns, walls, façades, offshore structures, tunnels and structures with large spans for bridges, factories, warehouses, shopping centres, car parks, assembly and sports halls and so on. The new structures are new applications for well-understood components, so it is not necessary to prove that they are possible. However, the paper presents tests that were made to illustrate the applicability and to reveal any potential hidden problems. Continuing research will aim to reduce the weight and thereby the resource consumption further. In addition, the paper introduces pearl-chain reinforcement, which is a new principle for creating compression and tension zones. A small number of simple mass-produced prefabricated components are used to establish compression and tension zones for optimised or advanced shapes in super-light structures. Furthermore, the principle provides new options for prestressing light aggregate concrete structures in general. Pearl-chain reinforcement is self-supporting. It is visible and open for inspection before being cast into a structure, and it can support moulds for the structure, reducing the need for scaffolding. Stable meshes of pearl-chain reinforcement are advantageous for both large-scale structures, such as bridges, girders, shells and domes, and for small-scale applications, such as façade elements, crash barriers and secondary structures. One special small-scale application of the principle is in frame building, where super-light frames with pearl-chain-reinforced components have some of the same advantages as timber-frame structures with regard to stability, heat insulation, economy and simple erection processes, but without the disadvantages of fire and rot.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalMagazine of Concrete Research
    Issue number8
    Pages (from-to)655-663
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • Composite construction
    • High performance concrete
    • Lightweight concrete
    • Testing structural elements
    • Whole-life costing
    • Structural design
    • Prestressed concrete


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